A lot of students probably don’t know actor John Ducey by name, but the Southern Tier’s hometown celebrity has starred in many successful television series in the past 15 years.
After bit parts on shows like “Frasier” and “Scrubs,” Ducey now plays the father of a very famous brother boy band on the Disney Channel. But despite his role on “JONAS,” Binghamton University students may find him even more noteworthy for his role as brother-in-law to the infamous English professor Dr. Ryan Vaughan.
Ducey sat down with Release to discuss how almost 20 years after moving to Los Angeles, he’s finally making a name for himself.
Release: How did you decide to get into the entertainment business and move from Binghamton to LA?
John Ducey: When I was growing up in Binghamton — I lived in Endwell — my whole interest in acting started when I would go to the Cider Mill Playhouse and see shows there. Then when the Broadway shows that were on tour would come to town I would go see those. I was an athlete when I was little, so I didn’t get to do any shows; I just went to see them. When I was a senior in high school, I did the fall show because a friend of mine encouraged me to join him. When I went to Harvard, I went there to play baseball and that didn’t really pan out. And so when I got cut from the team I thought, ‘Well what am I going to do now?’ I decided to try doing theater. Once I started to really get involved and excited about it, I thought I really need to go try this in the real world somewhere and make money. And I decided on Los Angeles; so when I graduated I went from there.
Release: When you attended Harvard, did you major in theater?
JD: My degree was in electrical engineering. [Laughs]
Release: So if you weren’t in the entertainment business, you’d be some sort of electrician?
JD: Well I did take the MCATs and I did apply to a couple of med schools if that might have been my path. When I got invited for some interviews, I called those schools and told them I had to defer my application for a year while I went to Los Angeles.
Release: What would you say was your biggest break in the business?
JD: What would you say is my biggest break?
Release: I think your IMDb is pretty impressive so if that happened to me I would be excited about any of them. You’ve been on some pretty big shows.
JD: I’d say early on my biggest break was when I played a food service waiter on “Frasier” that turned out to be a very popular episode. It did win an Emmy award — the episode — I didn’t personally. It was one of the highlights of the season. I had a few different entries into the room, there were a lot of jokes and that lead to me getting an agent. And that agent, who is still my agent today, opened the doors to a lot more auditions, which were much better than what I was doing before “Frasier.”
Release: Disney is kind of like the Mafia, once you’re in, you’re sort of in for life. You were the Dad on “JONAS” and you starred in a new straight-to-DVD-release “The Search for Santa Paws.” What does Disney have next for you?
JD: I have one more Disney project in the works. We just shot in Vancouver. It’s “The Suite Life of Zach and Cody Movie.” That will probably air in the summertime, I would guess. I don’t want to say never again with Disney, but there’s only so long …
Release: Your wife is Christina Moore, an actress also in the entertainment industry and currently on “Hawthorne.” How did you two meet?
JD: We met through friends of friends. I have a good friend, Nicole Sullivan, who was on “MADtv” for a long time. She and I have been friends for 15 years. Christina, my wife, wound up doing “MADtv” and got into our circle of friends and eventually we just got together.
Release: You had a role on “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” in its final season. How did it feel to be a part of such a huge staple in pop culture?
JD: [Long pause] By the time I was on it the show was fading, essentially. It went from T.G.I.F on ABC to what was then the WB. First of all, I find it much more pop-culture relevant to be a part of the “JONAS” show than the “Sabrina” show, because Sabrina was on the downside. The Jonas Brothers were at such a peak when the show premiered on Disney.
Release: How did your daughter react to you getting a role on “JONAS” and getting to work with the Jonas Brothers?
JD: At first she thought it was kind of cool. She was six or so at the time. She’s now nine and all her friends watch the show and think it is incredibly cool. So now that she knows how awesome her friends think it is, she thinks it’s unbelievable.
Release: It’s been rumored that “JONAS” was recently cancelled.
JD: They haven’t decided yet whether or not to do a third season.
Release: If they did do a third season, would you be back, reprising your role as the dad?
JD: That would be something they would work out if there was a season 3.
Release: Do you have any side projects that you’re working on besides your TV and film career?
JD: As we get older we’re trying to stick to what we’re good at. My wife is working on a book and I’m trying to maybe write some songs or work on a children’s book project. They’re just little creative projects that have potential to become more, but we don’t do it with the intent to make money.